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Help given after quake

16 February 2012

byVincent McKee

CHURCH organisations in the Philippines are leading the rescue and humanitarian drive after an earthquake struck the central Visayas region on Monday of last week. At the time of writing, 56 people had died. A further 150 were unaccounted for, and there was large-scale homelessness.

The earthquake hit Negros Oriental, particularly the provin­cial capital of Dumaguete, where almost all the deaths occurred. Tremors also rocked the country's second city, Cebu; Leyte Island; and towns in northern Mindanao. An estimated 8000 families have been left homeless.


Churches have spearheaded the relief operation. Dumaguete has a large Protestant population, in what is the world's third-largest Roman Catholic nation. Volunteers from the various Reformed Churches and the RC Church have come into Negros to help provide food relief, medical aid, and temporary shelters for displaced families.


The island of Negros was again affected by natural disaster when, earlier this week, heavy rains caused severe flooding and de­struction. A total of 7000 families are currently homeless. The natural pro­­tection against flooding which was afforded by wooded areas is now gone after illegal deforestation.


Elsewhere, the country's Epis­copal Church received a visit last weekend from the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori. She preached at a service in Bangao, Northern Luzon, at­tended by 800 people, where she called on the Church to embrace the gospel message of reaching out to social outcasts and the dis­advantaged. She also urged the Church to make itself relevant by stepping up relief to victims of poverty and disaster.

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